2008 French Open – Nick’s Pick – Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
Nick’s Picks will have complete coverage of the 2008 French Open, and is coming to you live from Paris!! Also, Nick is teaming with Tennis Week to provide in-depth analysis of the French Open throughout the tournament! Check out Nick’s Picks for the entire men’s and women’s draws!
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
So far so good for Nadal, as he has not lost a set during the entire tournament. In his fourth round match against Fernando Verdasco, he only lost a total of three games! Now he will face another Spaniard in Almagro in the quarters.
Almagro ended the incredible run of Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the fourth round, and will try to put an end to another incredible run in the quarters. Although, ending Nadal’s run is going to be a bit more difficult!
Nadal is 2-0 against Almagro, and both of those wins have come on clay. We could talk all day long about the talent of Almagro. In fact we could talk about the rest of the 127 players in the draw, but it wouldn’t matter. The only one player that matters in this tournament is Rafael Nadal. If he plays like he usually does, he will win. Plain and simple. The only thing Almagro can do is try to push Nadal east and west on the court and hope that Nadal is going to have a bad day.
Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 3 sets
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Ernests Gulbis (LAT)
Djokovic ousted French hope Paul-Henri Mathieu in the fourth round in straight sets. This is the third straight year he has reached the quarters, and he is looking to get back to the semis for a second consecutive year. As far as I am concerned, Djokovic has a great chance at winning this tournament.
Gulbis has been the surprise of the tournament on the men’s side. At the age of 19, he is playing in his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. If he can keep up this kind of play, he has top 10 written all over him.
These two youngsters have never faced before in their careers. It isn’t often that Djokovic plays someone that is younger than him, and he better not overlook Gulbis one bit. Both of these guys hit the ball extremely hard and have big, big serves. I think the big key in this match is Djokovic’s ability to take the ball early. When he does that he can catch his opponents out of position and hit winners with his great two-handed backhand. Let me tell you this, don’t think that Djokovic is going to breeze through this match. I do give him the edge, but it is going to be close. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gulbis pull off this upset.
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 5 sets
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI)
Federer didn’t play his best against Julien Benneteau in the fourth round, but he still came out with a three set victory. He only got 53% of his first serves in and capitalized on 6/16 break chances. He will have to be better than that against Gonzalez.
While overall, Gonzalez has not had his best year, he has been Nadal-like on clay. He has won his last 16 matches on the dirt, and has two titles on it this year. Gonzalez is also responsible for beating the last American – male or female – in the draw.
Federer is 10-1 against Gonzalez, including four wins over him on clay. The only time Gonzalez has beaten Federer was the last time they played, which was at the Masters Cup at the end of 2007. With the way Gonzalez has been playing, you know Federer will be ready to go from the outset. I’ve enjoyed seeing Federer mix it up a bit, hitting a variety of shots (lots of droppers) to keep his opponents guessing. I believe this is the influence of his coach Jose Higueras. Gonzo will need to come in whenever he can to force the action and to keep Federer back behind the baseline. If he can do that he will have a chance, if not Federer will win this match.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 sets